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Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Blue Spring State Park

Reading Strategies:

Blue Spring State Park

Summarize Main Idea and Details

Run, Boil, sanctuary, settlements, staple food, botanist, resources, relics,
outlet, shaft, descent, current, chamber, unrestricted, debris, fossil bearing rocks



Prior to reading the selection, find out how many students from the class have been to Florida. Ask questions that tap into students’ background knowledge. Include questions that elicit students’ knowledge about Florida’s landforms, waterways, landmarks, tourist attractions, wildlife, resources/industry, and climate. Help students locate Orange City, Florida (28.94N, -81.338W) on a map. Introduce the selection by reading aloud the title and first paragraph. (Activating Background Knowledge Prior to Reading)

Invite students to use their knowledge of Florida to respond to the following questions: "Why would manatees want habitats in/near Florida?" "What waterways would attract manatees? Why?" "What weather conditions create optimal environments for manatees?" (Asking Questions and Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Post the following words on the board or chart paper: spring, run, boil, park, state, degrees, staple, outlet, current, and base. Ask students to predict how these words will be used in the text. Write prediction statements on chart paper. (Making Predictions Based on Prior Knowledge; Building Vocabulary)

Have students scan the text for boldface headlines: "Settlements At Blue Spring," "Deep Passage," and "Saved for Manatees and People." Ask students to add prediction statements to the chart based on the headlines. (Using Text Features to Make Predictions)

Have students read "Blue Spring State Park." Encourage them to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining key ideas, and making notes in the margins. Invite students to share how "marking up the text" helped them read and remember information in the selection.

Library Lookout:
Sleper, B. and Foott, J. In the Company of Manatees: A Tribute. Three Rivers Press.
Jeff Foott is a photographer for National Geographic. This book includes his beautiful photographs of manatees in Florida.

Lund, Bill. The Manatees of Florida. Franklin Watts, 1997. Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Revisit the selection to highlight words with multiple meanings: spring, run, boil, park, state, degrees, staple, outlet, current, and base. Use a dictionary/thesaurus to collect definitions for each word. Ask questions to explore the multiple meanings found for each word.

Sample questions: "How many definitions are listed in the dictionary for the word, spring?" "How can the word ‘spring’ be used as a verb?" "How can it be used as a noun?" "How is the word ‘spring’ used in this selection?" "How is the word 'staple' used in this article?" Reread the sentences from the article that contain the multiple meaning words. Invite students to use context clues from the article to match each word with its appropriate definition. Have students work in small groups to create Word Webs for the multiple meaning words. On each web, students should include definitions, pronunciation, synonyms, antonyms, sketched illustrations, and context sentences that give examples for how the word can be used in different ways. (Building Vocabulary)

To help students collect main ideas and details from the selection, use the Carousel technique. Divide the class into six small groups. Post six large sheets of chart paper around the room.

Label each sheet:
1. Blue Spring State Park,
2. Blue Spring Run,
3. Settlements at Blue Spring,
4. Deep Passage,
5. Saved for Manatees and People, and
6. Further Research Questions.

Phase One: Have each group reread the selection. They may take notes to prepare for writing key ideas and details on the Carousel Charts. Phase Two: Each group visits each chart for 3-5 minutes. As they "go around" from chart to chart, students recall and write details from the text. Phase Three: Invite students to use the Carousel Charts to summarize information revealed in the text. (Summarizing Main Ideas and Details)

Journaling Questions
1. Blue Spring pushes out over 104 million gallons of water every day into the Run. Discuss what you think could be the “unknown source” of Blue Spring. Where is all this water coming from? And why is the water at a constant 72 degrees? (Drawing Conclusions)

Making Connections
What landforms and waterways in your community provide ideal habitats for wildlife? What wildlife parks, refuges, and sanctuaries are in your state or province? What do you know about the history of your community wildlife preserves? What features would attract wildlife? What features would attract tourists?
(Making Text-to-the-World Connections)

Evaluate (Examining author's strategies.)
Revisit the selection to explore words and phrases used to describe "time" factors: each winter, for hundreds of years, over the centuries, three years after…, On January 4, 1776..., By the mid-1800’s..., In 1872, ...each day..., years ago, ...restricted now. Invite students to categorize each phrase in a two-column chart: General and Specific. "Which words and phrases give a reader specific details? Which words and phrases give general information?" Invite students to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of each "time phrase." "Which phrases provided sufficient information?" "Which phrases may require further research?" "What was the author’s purpose; why do you think the author chose a general phrase to describe this detail?"


Writer's Workshop
  • Creative/Narrative
    Imagine that you have just traveled to Florida to see manatees. Write a story about your "first" visit to Blue Spring State Park.
  • Descriptive
    Create a travel brochure for Blue Spring State Park.
  • Expository
    Research the history of Blue Spring State Park. Create a picture book that brings the Park's historic moments to life for young readers.
  • Expressive
    Write a letter to "Mom" from a scuba diver who just explored the"deep passage" described in the reading selection.
  • Persuasive
    Create an informational flyer for tourists of Blue Springs State Park. Include messages that persuade the guests to respect the park and its wildlife. What guidelines would help swimmers, campers, boaters, hikers, scuba divers, and tourists respect the park?

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